Hochfeld Farmer’s Bail Appeal Dismissed

A HOCHFELD area farm resident accused of murdering a trespassing neighbour and then burying his body in an aarark burrow saw his hopes of being granted bail dashed in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Karl Friedrich Eichhoff is remaining in police custody, where he has already spent more than six months, after Acting Judge Collins Parker dismissed his appeal against a magistrate’s ruling in which his request to be granted bail was turned down in November last year. Acting Judge Parker said he would provide reasons for his ruling by 9 May.

Eichhoff (32) is charged with counts of murder, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or attempting to do so, and ill-treatment of animals in connection with an incident in which a resettlement farm resident, Cornelius Slinger, was killed at the farm of Eichhoff’s father north-east of Hochfeld on 6 October last year.

Eichhoff claimed during a bail hearing in the Okahandja Magistrate’s Court in November that Slinger was shot accidentally when he fired four shots at a pack of dogs that he had found near a cattle post on his father’s farm late on the afternoon of 6 October. Slinger lived on a resettlement farm next to the farm of Eichhoff’s father.

Eichhoff said he shot at the animals because dogs – either on their own or accompanied by people – that enter his family’s farm to hunt animals had been a recurring problem at the farm in the past.

He insisted that he did not see any person at the scene when he shot at the dogs. He said he was shocked when he discovered an injured man lying groaning on the ground after he had gone closer to the spot where the dogs had been.

The man died at the scene. Eichhoff said he was in a state of shock and panic when he then decided to bury the man in a nearby aarark burrow, where he also placed the three dogs he had killed.

He owned up to a police officer and told him what had happened when the police, who were looking for the missing Slinger, came to his father’s farm two days after the fatal shooting. He then pointed out the scene of the shooting and the burial place to the police.

Lawyer JP Jones, representing Eichhoff with Willem Visser, argued yesterday that the evidence put on record during the bail hearing indicated that the prosecution did not have a g case against Eichhoff. The prosecution would have to prove that he had an intention to kill somebody, while it is Eichhoff’s version that he did not see anybody and did not know that there was another human being at the scene when he shot at the dogs, Jones said.

He also argued that Eichhoff’s roots were in Namibia and that the magistrate who turned down his request to be granted bail did not have reasons to find that there was a likelihood that Eichhoff would abscond if released on bail.

Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoef argued that the magistrate correctly found that there was a risk that Eichhoff would abscond if released on bail. She also argued that the prosecution in fact had a g case against Eichhoff, and that his concern about his case could be a reason that could make him a flight risk if released on bail.

If Eichhoff was so irresponsible that he could dump Slinger’s body after the shooting, then he could be equally irresponsible after being released on bail, Verhoef argued.

Eichhoff is due to make another appearance in the periodical Hochfeld Magistrate’s Court on 22 May.

Source : The Namibian